Who We Are
17-Forward-86 was established in August 2018 by representatives of economic development, construction, environmental stewardship, tourism, business, health care and energy companies who support the expansion of Route 17. The coalition of more than 200 members shares a vision of expanding the capacity of Route 17 to strengthen the economic well-being of the Hudson Valley and Sullivan Catskills.
The expansion of Route 17 will strengthen the region’s economy by improving access for tourists and businesses while enhancing commuter safety and reducing environmental damage from vehicular emissions caused by idling motorists. The expansion will also improve quality of life for residents who face increased traffic on side roads as a result of commuters trying to get around Route 17’s congestion.
The 2013 Route 17 Transportation Corridor Study noted that the existing congestion and delays on Route 17 will worsen over the near- and long-term, and that the volume of development along the corridor necessitates an additional lane/added capacity.
The Hudson Valley is experiencing tremendous growth in population and tourism, further increasing traffic along the corridor. Orange County has the fourth-fastest growing population in New York State, increasing at a rate of more than 9% between 2010 and 2023. Census data for 2021 shows Sullivan County as the fastest-growing county in the state.
Sullivan County receives 4 million visitors annually, which is expected to increase to 8 million. Currently, the population climbs to over 350,000 during the summer months and by an additional 50,000 on any given weekend.
New York State has invested $150 million in reconfiguring Route 17’s Exit 131 and expanding the roadway’s capacity is an important next step for the region.
Did You Know?
Route 17 is the transit epicenter of the region and its inability to meet driver demand negatively affects everything from economic development and tourism, to public safety and population growth/retention.
Expanding and modernizing Route 17 is critical to the long-term economic well-being of the region and will lay the foundation for enhanced local and long-distance travel, as well as enhanced business recruitment and retention.
Extending Route 17 to Interstate 86 stands to generate $82 million in additional state sales tax revenue for the State of New York over the next decade.